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This research intends to better understand the barriers and biases resulting from algorithms in women’s access to freedom of opinion and expression, and to examine women’s resiliency and how they navigate these algorithms that are inherently limiting to create the much-needed space for women and gender non-conforming persons to speak out, to be heard, and to, in effect, occupy digital spaces.

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Internet use is still relatively low in the sub-Saharan Africa region. In some of the less developed countries like Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique, internet use was still below 15% for both sexes. Rwanda’s gender gap is much higher than other least developed economies: about 12% of men use the internet, as opposed to only 4.8% of women.

Previous studies have shown that income and education are the main determinants of internet access and use. In general, the share of individuals who have completed a specific level of education in Rwanda is quite low for both men and women. However, women are often less educated and earn less than men. This puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to using the internet. It supports the hypothesis that women often find themselves in a situation of multiple marginalities, and this is translated in the digital realm.

For the past decade, internet connectivity has been praised for its potential to close the gender gap in Africa. Among the many benefits of digitalisation, digital tools enable groups that are marginalised across the intersections of gender, race, sex, class, religion, ability and nationality to produce and access new forms of knowledge and conceive counter-discourses.

However, the internet, once viewed as a utopia for equality, is proving to be the embodiment of old systems of oppression and violence. In order to understand experiences of African women in online spaces, this violence must be viewed on a continuum rather than as isolated incidents removed from existing structural frameworks. Discriminatory gendered practices are shaped by social, economic, cultural and political structures in the physical world and are similarly reproduced online across digital platforms.

Domestic and care work industries in India have been the site of rapid platformisation over the past decade or so. Domestic workers are particularly vulnerable and unprotected, which makes their work qualitatively different than most other sectors in the gig or sharing economy.

The objective of the project is to use a feminist lens to critique platform modalities and orient platformisation dynamics in radically different, worker-first ways.